Common Car Accident Injuries
While injuries from car wrecks vary in severity, there are several common car accident injuries. Some injuries are relatively minor and will heal on their own in a few days or weeks. Others may result in permanent damage and disability. Here are some of the most common types of car accident injuries we see:
Broken glass, torn sheet metal or flying objects inside the car can all cause lacerations or cuts. Simple cuts may heal on their own or with a few stitches. Deep lacerations may result in blood loss and require surgery to repair. Scarring may result from cuts and require surgery to minimize visible scars, especially if the scars are on the face or neck.
Broken wrists, arms, ankles, legs and ribs are all common in car accidents. Simple breaks are generally treated with a cast followed by physical therapy once the cast is removed to regain full range of motion. More serious breaks may require surgery to repair, again followed by physical therapy. If a broken bone pierces the skin, it is known as a compound fracture. In either case, you may be referred to an orthopedic specialist.
Whiplash is a very common neck injury in car accidents. It is caused by the motion of the accident moving your head and neck outside its normal range and straining ligaments, muscles and tendons. Because bones are not involved in a whiplash injury, it may be referred to as a soft tissue injury. Spinal injuries may result in severe pain, loss of sensation or movement or in temporary or permanent
paralysis. Paralysis involving the lower body is called paraplegia, while paralysis involving the arms and shoulders is called quadriplegia.
Injuries to internal organs may occur if the car crash forces your body into an object like the steering wheel or if you are hit by flying debris from inside or outside the vehicle. These injuries result in internal bleeding and must be treated promptly.
Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Any blow to the head may cause swelling in the brain. If this swelling is severe, it may result in permanent injury. If you believe you hit your head in a car accident, it is important to tell the paramedics that respond to the accident. While the swelling may begin immediately after the accident, the injured party may not feel any effects or exhibit any symptoms until some time has passed. This is sometimes called the “lucid interval.” Immediate treatment of all head injuries is very important.
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